Is Crowdsourcing the Next Big Component of Supply Chain Logistics?
- February 9th, 2015
- By: Scott Robinson
News of crowdsourcing initiatives in supply chain logistics is increasingly frequent, and with good reason: crowdsourcing expands a supply chain’s ability to deliver on or ahead of time, increases redundancy, and enhances customer satisfaction.
In a recent discussion of high-profile crowdsourcing innovations, details of the successes of Amazon and rival Google are articulated: guaranteed two-day delivery, leveraging a wide scattering of distribution centers and an independent delivery fleet for Amazon, the tapping of local businesses for same-day service for Google.
Why is this important? Because Amazon leads the world in supply chain successes that have altered consumer consciousness. Expectations of supply chain delivery, efficiency and accuracy have been almost universally transformed by Amazon’s successful model. The answer, for smaller enterprises wishing to meet such a high standard? Crowdsourcing – signing up just about any potential logistics partner on wheels, up to and including taxi companies.
Uber-X is a good example: the San Francisco-based transportation networking pioneer has brought the concept of the taxi into the twenty-first century, coordinating vehicles for hire in the US and other countries by means of a convenient smart phone app. That network (and others, including Lyft) are available as a potential crowdsourced delivery fleet for any supply chain with the desire to leverage it. And with Uber’s stated goal of deploying driverless vehicles as soon as the technology is proven, such a network would one day be competitive with Amazon’s drone delivery program.
Certification, insurance, and maintenance checks become a concern, but they would be, anyway. The importance of the trend is that very high standards of performance in product delivery are rapidly becoming universal – making those standards a priority for any supply chain, with crowdsourcing an increasingly worthy option for consideration.